Toyota aims to become carbon-neutral by 2050.
Toyota may be late to the EV party, but the Japanese automaker has been pioneering hybrid technology since the Prius debuted back in 1997 to reduce global emissions. Toyota's electrified lineup continues to expand with the recent launch of the RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid, while the standard RAV4 Hybrid has overtaken the Prius as Toyota's best-selling hybrid. Its first production EV inspired by the bZ4X concept will go on sale in 2022 and as many as 15 fully electric cars will join Toyota's EV lineup by 2025.
This will help electrified models to make up 40 percent of Toyota's new car sales by 2025, and this is expected to increase to nearly 70 percent by 2030. But more steps need to be taken if Toyota is going to achieve its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
In California, Toyota is launching a new "Clean Assist" program that will make charging your Prius Prime or RAV4 Prime cleaner for the environment. When recharging, plug-in hybrids use power from grid electricity that sources most of its power from non-renewable energy like coal, nuclear powerplants, and gas turbines. The remaining charge comes from renewable energy sources like solar farms, wind converters, hydro-electric turbines, and bio-waste generators.
When you consider the energy source, this means most electric cars aren't truly zero-emissions. To rectify this, Toyota's new Clean Assist program offsets the vehicle charging with 100-percent renewable energy.
To join the Clean Assist program, eligible owners of the Prius Prime and RAV4 Prime in California can sign up for free using the Toyota app, which tracks the amount of electricity used during charging. Toyota will then generate or buy an equivalent amount of California-sourced Renewable Energy Certificates, which records the generation and usage of green energy.
Evidence of the matching amounts is then sent to the California Air Resources Board, allowing 100 percent of the electricity to be converted to 100-percent renewable energy regardless of where the car is being charged. Through the Clean Assist program, owners can track the amount of carbon emissions they have reduced using the app.